This high-pressure market demands that writers are innovative with more than their creative work. Gone are the drunken and drug-inspired days of chunked out stream-of-conscious-writing that only appeals to stoners anyways. Now, in addition to well-crafted art, she must sell herself with a sexy social platform and have a viable media presence, and he must be a master at writing the coverletter, mission statements, synopses, letters of intent, and statements of purpose. She must have a love of all-things grant-writing and be a whiz at sniffing out blood under rocks.
While I don’t enjoy half of the items on that list (and who can’t spy a lukewarm cheerleader?), I’d better find a way to hide my poker face. Or, go and do something else.
But, I’m happy to share that I received two really nice rejections this week.
To the uninitiated that may sound oxymoronic so let me explain why this is a positive.
- I’M IN THE GAME: It’s proof that I’m acting on my dream, not just dreaming.
- MOST TIMES YOU GET NOTHING: Although I’ve only been professionally submitting for 7 months, I’ve learned that most theatres only notify the selected. Other authors don’t even get blanket rejections.
- REJECTIONS ARE 80-90% OF WHAT YOU’LL GET, IF YOU GET ANYTHING.
- IT’S AN ODD GRACE TO RECEIVE A PERSONALIZED “PASS”: Getting comments from literary & artistic managers like “we read your submission with great interest” and “please submit to us again” is encouragement. Plus, when they mention specifics, you know that the script was read.
- ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS ARE A BLESSING AND A CURSE: 96% of the correspondence I receive sounds overwhelmed. Sentences from the producing theatres like, “We had a record-breaking number of submissions this year,” reveal that (a) everyone seems to have a play they’ve written, and (b) the ease of computer submissions, a “send” at a click—with no binding, no trips to the post office and, so, no fees—have changed the game. The new-normal amount of plays received runs around 600 to the 3,000 plus reported by folks at The O’Neill. For this reason, many theatres cap their submissions (i.e. “We will consider the first 500 plays we receive.”) Finding a good play, nowadays, must be like locating the needle in a hay bale.